Stuff I Wish I’d Known At 11

So this month, my gorgeous baby sister turned eleven.

What’s that? I should stop calling her my baby sister? I WILL NOT!

Both of these guys will be my baby sisters always and forever.

Both of these guys will be my baby sisters always and forever.

This totally freaked me out because I remember being eleven and I basically thought I was the most grown up ever. I had my denim jacket, I had my braided bangs with beads on the end and I was coming to get the world.

Which is funny, considering that now that I’m 23, I feel like an overgrown child.

Anyway. I thought, since I’m officially ancient and all, I would write a list of stuff that I wish people had told me when I was eleven. Obviously, if I listed everything, we’d be here for the rest of time but here are the highlights.

Don’t use those horrible acne pad things.

If I had a TARDIS, I would travel back to 2007 and slap those boxes out of my hands. Your skin is fine, baby Fiona! Put those things down! You’ll pay for this in dry, scaly skin foreeveeeeeeeeeer!

Time spent reading or hanging out with your family is never wasted time.

Both of these things might seem silly and wasteful sometimes, especially when you’re busy. But these two things will build you into the person that you end up becoming, so cherish them.

Your quirks are your strengths.

I absolutely promise you that the things you hate most about yourself will be your favourite features when you get older. The things people tease you about, that mark you out as different…hang onto them. These things are your greatest strength.

The best revenge is to live well.

I wish I could say that I meant this in a super forgiving, zen, unruffled way, but I’m just not that big a person. The best revenge is to live a good life because then you can feel entirely smug about how well everything is going. Sometimes, I think about how happy I am with my life, in comparison with how rubbish my bullies tried to make it, and that makes me feel really, very pleased with myself. There’s nothing like going home and surprising the hell out of everyone by being hot and happy. Not my best feature, but true nonetheless.

Some people suck. Be nice to them anyway.

People can be really, really nasty. But it turns out that most of the time, they’re really, really nasty because they’re scared. This doesn’t excuse their meanness or mean you should let them walk all over you. But it is much, much braver to be nice to someone than it is to be mean.

Sometimes you will suck.

Here’s a thing that will definitely, absolutely happen to you at some point: you will be nasty to someone that you like to gain the approval of someone more popular than you. And when you make that popular person laugh, it feels brilliant. You feel like you’re climbing. Let me tell you now, this is not ever, ever worth it. Be loyal, be kind, always. If someone brings out the worst in you, you don’t want them as a friend anyway.

Kissing is so much fun – when you’re ready for it.

Kisses that you want to have are loads of fun. Kisses that you don’t really want to have are totally rubbish. Only you know when you’re ready for your first kiss (and all the kisses after that!), so don’t let anyone push you around. This will also apply to something else a little further down the line.

One just for the girls: You don’t ever have to be a certain way because you’re a girl.

Girls come in all shapes and sizes, just like boys do. Some girls wear loads of makeup. Some girls do kickboxing. Some girls like to read. Some girls like to kiss all the boys. Some girls would rather kiss all the girls. Some girls do all of these things. Don’t let anyone put you in a box or tell you what girls are supposed to do. And I know this can be hard but don’t be mean about other girls because they’re doing things different from you. We’re all different…that’s what makes things interesting! Girls all get further when we build each other up rather than tearing each other down.

This will all be a funny story someday.

I promise, no matter how bad things get, you will always look back and laugh about them. In fact, the worse they are, the funnier they’ll be. Me and my best friend can now laugh about the time that she broke up with her long term boyfriend and then her guinea pig died the next day. I’ve just pitched an article about the time me and my friend decided we were witches and hosted a hilariously inept Wiccan circle in my bedroom. I can now gigglingly, if still a little haltingly, tell people about the time that everyone at a fancy dress party thought I’d come dressed as a slave (I hadn’t). Honestly, the more completely mortifying you are at eleven, the better you’ll be at dinner parties in ten years. The other side of this coin is that there is literally no point wasting time trying to be cool. Unless being cool makes you happy, in which case go for it. But doing things that make you miserable to try and fit in is a rubbish idea, because you’re totally going to look back and cringe, no matter what. Embrace it.

What do you guys wish you’d known at eleven? What is the most mortifying thing you can remember from your preteen years?

The Happiness Project: August 2015

The Happiness Project tracks my efforts to live a happier life by relishing in the little moments of joy. Inspired by Only Do One Thing, I’ll be doing monthly roundups of my favourite happy moments from the month. Part one can be found here!

Hiya pals! It’s time for another Happiness Project roundup! I appreciate that it is no longer August and so this is officially late. I’d love to say it’s because I’ve been swamped being busy and important but truthfully, I’ve just spent most of September so far drinking wine and watching Luther. And it’s been wonderful. No regrets.

So what did I get up to during August?

Picnic, Famous Five style.

This was the very first Only Do One Thing nudge of the month and I was utterly delighted. There’s a gorgeous park near me and I like to drag Niall around it at every available opportunity. We loaded up with sandwiches, apples, crisps and lashings of ginger beer (the kind that the Famous Five weren’t allowed) and parked ourselves on the grass for an afternoon. It was blissful. Apart from the bit where a big green spider dropped from the tree we were leaning on and dangled in my face. That bit was rubbish. But 10/10 for boozy picnics in the sun with my favourite person.

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Good news, I saw a turtle. Yes that is an Elf reference.

Good news, I saw a turtle. Yes that is an Elf reference.

Play air guitar like you mean it.

Man, every single day. My mum instilled the value of occasional dance breaks in me at a young age. There is very little that isn’t made at least a bit better by shaking your thang to You Shook Me All Night Long.

Challenge someone to a game.

I badgered Niall for about a bajillion years to play Monopoly with me because I love board games. He was all like “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t really know how to play Monopoly”. He ended up with SIX HOTELS and I ended up with £60. You better believe I threw all the Chance cards at him and flounced off. But up until that point, it was a totally brilliant way to spend a lazy Saturday. I’m already bugging him for a rematch. Love a board game, me.

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Hang out with an animal.

There is a little white cat who lives in our courtyard and I stop to pet him every time I see him. On this day I sat down to play with him for a little while and he climbed into my lap and started batting my pigtails and then went to sleep. I LOVE HIM AND I’M PROBABLY GOING TO STEAL HIM DON’T TELL ANYONE.

Non-Only-Do-One-Thing Happy Stuff

These ones weren’t nudges, they were just happy-making things that I did this month.

Bought myself a fancy cupcake and had 3pm afternoon tea at my desk.

Sure, I had one eye on my inbox but everything is better with half a cupcake in your mouth. Next time I’ll do a full cake stand with scones and stuff, see if anyone says anything.

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Took a detour on my way home to nosy down a pretty lane.

I walk past this lane every day and always wonder what lives on it. The answer was pretty fantastic: a creperie, a vintage clothes shop straight out of the movies, a million antique shops and general pretty things shops and more cobbles and flowers than you can shake a stick at. Definitely dragging Niall to the creperie for breakfast some time.

Made homemade peanut butter.

Okay, okay, my contribution to this was largely licking the spoon. And by largely, I mean entirely. Seriously though, this stuff is to die for.

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Overall, August was a pretty tasty month. Let’s hope September lives up to it! What made you guys happy during August?